Manassas Fraud Lawyer
Fraud crimes involve the intentional deception of another person or entity for personal gain or influence. Many types of crimes fall under the umbrella of fraud, ranging from simple misdemeanors to multiple counts of multiple felonies, often emerging from the same set of transactions or events.
A person can be accused of fraud in criminal and civil settings. In a criminal case, the party who is bringing the case is a local, state, or federal prosecutor. In civil cases, the aggrieved party is the person or business that was harmed by the alleged fraudulent act.
When a fraud charge is brought against a person in criminal court, the consequences can have far-reaching implications. A Manassas fraud lawyer could offer immediate assistance and advocacy, while avidly protecting the rights and reputation of the accused. Individuals accused of fraud should get in touch with a capable lawyer that could advocate for them.
Federal Fraud Vs. State Fraud
A criminal fraud case can be brought in either state court or federal court. If the alleged illegal behavior involved violations of federal law or a federal program, the case will likely be brought in federal court. Cases involving the banking system, wire fraud, mail fraud, large numbers of alleged victims, and/or large amounts of money or benefits (five digits or more) are likely candidates for federal court.
Prosecutors in both types of courts will gather evidence and build a case against the accused, but federal cases can involve different sets of investigators and investigative tools. Federal cases can use the FBI, IRS, or other federal agencies for investigation or information, whereas state-based cases will rely on state or municipal agencies and law enforcement.
Penalties in federal court are typically more severe than state court cases. It can be advantageous during the early stages of a case for you and your attorney to vigorously argue that the case stays in state court. A Manassas fraud lawyer could mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.
Common Types of Criminal Fraud Cases in Virginia State Courts
In Virginia, criminal fraudulent acts are enumerated in the Virginia Code, Title 18, Chapter 6. Common fraud crimes include the following:
- Forgery – where one person proffers the signature of another person without permission or alters official documents like transcripts or diplomas for financial or educational gain;
- Impersonation – in cases where one person falsely assumes the functions or privileges of a law enforcement, public safety, or military official;
- False pretenses – where one person misrepresents facts or tokens in order to obtain money, property, or services;
- Manipulating a banking system or institution – commonly seen in the issuing of bad checks where there are insufficient funds or credit;
- False statements used to obtain property or credit – this includes untrue writings, oral representations, and in some cases the failure to disclose material facts;
- Electronic communication device fraud – in cases where misrepresentation or illegal interception occurs in the use, possession, sale, or manufacture of an electronic communication device;
- Credit card fraud – includes statutes that span the theft, forgery, unauthorized possession of, and fraudulent application for a credit card.
Virginia law captures a multitude of other acts considered fraudulent, and changes in fraud laws are common, as technologies and systems become more sophisticated.
Potential Defenses Against Fraud Charges
When defending a case of fraud, a defendant can initially attempt to persuade the prosecutor to bring the charges in a state court rather than federal court. In state court, the chances of settling are higher and the sentencing is typically lighter.
As the case moves forward, the defendant can challenge the prosecution’s evidence, arguing that the evidence was unlawfully obtained or is insufficient to satisfy the very high burden of proof required of the prosecution.
A defendant can also mount a defense that challenges the mental state or intention behind the alleged crime. The defendant can attempt to show that the act in question was unintentional or was carried out unknowingly, thus dismantling part of the prosecutor’s case.
A Manassas criminal fraud defense lawyer should be able to negotiate skillfully and strategize creatively on an individual’s behalf. The attorney could mount a vigorous defense at trial and direct nuanced negotiations with prosecutors.
Speaking with a Manassas Fraud Attorney
Criminal charges put immediate pressure on the accused and their loved ones. During such a stressful time, it is critical to surround yourself with a supportive legal team that understands law enforcement techniques and court procedures.
A Manassas fraud lawyer may have experience defending simple as well as complex fraud cases. Call our office for a professional evaluation of your case.